Hotel study wins grant from governor

WINDER - The city of Winder has received $13,000 to conduct a structural study of a historic granite hotel that escaped destruction.

The downtown hotel was almost demolished to make room for a parking deck, before local business leaders banded together to protest its demise.

Tuesday, the city received a Local Development Fund grant from the governor's office to study what must be done so the building can once again function, and what needs it can satisfy for the city. Winder will also contribute $13,000 to the studies.

Bob Beck, the city administrator, said the staff at City Hall are excited to receive the money, which coincides with recent attention to Winder's streetscape program.

The grant, Beck said, will be used to imagine what the old hotel can bring to the city.

"It's unlimited by the imaginations of the various people who have been there," he said. "Exterior-wise, it's an absolutely gorgeous building. It could be as dominating as The Peoples Bank is. The usage of it is wide open."

Some ideas that have been tossed around include a courthouse, a theater or a retail area. Beck said the city will first determine what needs to be done to salvage, renovate and rehabilitate the building, then delve into its possible uses.

This year, the state gave out $1.5 million in grants to communities throughout Georgia for downtown development, public parking, historic preservation and other projects.